Wimbly Lu | Jalan Riang, Serangoon

When I first heard of Wimbly Lu, my first thoughts was: “Is it a Chinese brand?”

Like Cabbeen, Croquis, Markfairwhale, Metersbonwe, Septwolves and Sfenth, the name “Wimbly Lu” seemed to similarly epitomize the idiosyncracies and fancy transliterations of a Chinese label intent on global domination. A fashion label it is not, for Wimbly Lu bills itself first and foremost, as a chocolatier and a cafe.

As far as the interior goes – because that’s important for some reason – Wimbly Lu is certainly more Au Chocolat and Max Brenner than Awfully Chocolate. The cabin appears to take on a playful and mischevious demeanor in the light, but once night falls, it’s convivial, dark, cozy and intimate… almost like a Parisien bistrot really, just without any real food.

If you’ve come here looking for some sort of cocoa gratification, or death by chocolate overdose, or any form of endorphin rush from the consumption of these adrenaline pumping bonbons, you might be in for some disappointment here. Yes, there are some confections – which I’m sure taste very good – kinda on “display-ish” for sale. The visual merchandising, at least when I visited, inspired a characterless menagerie of garden-variety treats. The prosaic looking uneven balls of artisanal chocolate, the unexceptionally presented brownies and the modest lumps of chocolate cakes disappearing in the darkness of the dimly-lit dessert bar.

The menu at Wimbly Lu swings towards the sweet, although there are some savory snacks including chips, hash browns and pies which should come in handy if you’re the kind of person who enjoys eating McDonald’s fries with hot fudge sundaes.

We started with a waffle with salted caramel ice-cream and maple syrup. Light, fluffy and crisp, with just the right contrast of flavors and textures, this is easily, one of the best waffles in town. The salted caramel ice-cream, obviously made in-house, balanced the notes of a vulnerable and delicate sweetness with an overarching masculine flavor of the pungent sea salt, and complemented the waffles perfectly. The salinity lingers, and never really lets up, which serves as a firm fulcrum for the palate. For the same reason though, I wouldn’t recommend having the ice-cream solo. Thankfully, Wimbly Lu doesn’t sell the ice-cream individually. Personally though, I feel that Salted Caramel’s version presents a fine variation between sweet and salty without tasting like you’ve swallowed the entire Dead Sea.

Next, we had the root beer cake with vanilla ice-cream. The ice-cream soda was invented in Philadelphia in 1874, and since then, it has become one of the most popular beverages in the world, sparking perhaps its most well-known version, the root beer float (then called a “black cow” back in 1893) and immortalized in 1919 when A&W made it their signature drink. However, in 1960, the United States’ FDA banned the use of sassafras in commercially mass-produced foods including root beers. The plant was found to be carcinogenic, and secondly, the 1960s was US’ war on drugs and sassafras was a major ingredient of what was then known as methylamphetamine, or MDMA, today more famously known as “ecstasy”. Today, the “root beer” you know and love, is in fact, not actually a “root beer” at all. When you have your root beer, it is in fact, a smilax regelii, or more commonly known as sarsaparilla (or “sarsi” for short).

Back to the dessert “cocktail”. I didn’t like it, to be honest. It was so weird in flavor. Personally, I’m not as crazy as some people here for root beer, in particular A&W’s root beer float.

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